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the dredwerkz

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Okay, I just finished a book review about Bruce Campbell's life on the B-movie circuit. Be sure to check it out, and I highly recommend the book itself for anyone with a sense of humor. Also, as I was commenting to some friends the other night, everyone over the age of 35 and also blind is encouraged to check out the obscenity laced, hideously inappropriate cartoon I'm referencing right now. first image from elftor cartoon second image from elftor cartoon third image from elftor cartoon Here's three panels from this series in which Elftor transcends partisan politics. A must for all you political junkies. The actual series is located right here and is too violent, drug addicted and sophomoric to be viewed by anyone. It makes South Park look like an actual children's show. For all of the above reasons, I expect it to be picked up by a FOX affiliate soon to replace the loss of the formerly most offensive cartoon on network television, the always repugnant "Family Guy". Don't get me wrong: I thought Family Guy was amusing (at least the dog and the baby were interesting) but the level of comments made seemed so obtuse that they reminded me of my old newspaper days, when the argument "this is satire" was always made in response to any sort of criticism about a particularly offensive article. And we're not talking Jonathan Swift tirades either...I'll regale you with the adventures of Sugar and Spice on another occasion. Perhaps later this evening, post socializing.

posted at: 2002-12-07 20:04:32 with 0 comments

werkz advice: go buy and read it.

I'm normally slow at reading books given to me as gifts. And I'm even slower at reviewing them once I'm finished with the reading portion. So it was with this book: If Chins Could Kill, Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell. I was given it last October for my birthday and didn't manage to finish it until a stint at the beach this summer. And, so many moons later, I'm sitting here penning a review.

Campbell, unlike most actors, seems to fit his on-screen persona perfectly in this work. Constant witticisms, the always-crazy Raimi brothers' presence and an ability for self-deprecation all combine to give this tale of tinseltown an air of immaturity. And that's just how Bruce's fans will like it. For those not versed in the Campbell canon, Bruce is the main actor in several movies directed by Sam Raimi including the cult-classic Evil Dead series. He mainly toiled as a lower B-movie actor, excluding his ED success, and also worked in television on several series, never busting into the A-list star category, but amassing plenty of amusing stories along the way.

This is the heart of Campbell's book: the ups and downs of life out of the limelight. Whether toiling in a syndicated series or struggling to get backers for a film, Campbell is always lighthearted and his quirky take on a fairly difficult lifestyle is well done. Fans and innocents alike will enjoy the irreverance, so put down that mouse and get yourself a copy today!

posted at: 2002-12-07 18:37:29 with 0 comments

If I was driving my BMW down the GW Parkway, as I've done many a time, and someone driving a Mercedes ticked me off, I probably wouldn't pull a gun on them. Since I don't own a gun, this has never been a problem. But if there was a passenger with me, a girl, for instance, I'd definitely keep my emotions in check. Chicks don't dig guys who fly off the handle and discharge firearms from a moving vehicle. But if my dad was on the board of the NRA, I'd be sure to keep that gun in the glove compartment. Funny, I don't think that Mr. Keene was acting in any militia at the time of his little incident. This combined with the 9th circuit decision have left me in a good mood this afternoon. Keep up the good work!

posted at: 2002-12-06 16:21:39 with 0 comments

First, an update to the last post: Lawrence Lindsey has also resigned. Unlike when our president speaks, the article points out the obvious:

Stocks cut opening losses and wobbled near unchanged Friday as the resignations helped take the sting out of a disappointing unemployment report for November.

"I think the resignations are a good thing for the economy," said Bill Strazzullo, market strategist with State Street Global Markets. "I don't think the market had much faith in O'Neill because of his inability to articulate a strategy for the dollar and his general ineptness."

See, if Bush really wanted to help the economy, he'd resign himself. On a side note, I ran into a friend on the corner a few minutes ago who's finishing up law school. I hadn't seem him in ages. One of the greatest things about DC is that, unlike LA or New York, you can reliably run into people you know from completely different locales on a regular basis. It's still a big city, but at its heart it's a slow southern town, currently covered with snow.

posted at: 2002-12-06 12:06:40 with 0 comments

In what can only be good news for the country, Paul O'Neill resigned today. Here's the full text of his resignation letter:

"I hereby resign my position as secretary of the Treasury.

It has been a privilege to serve the nation during these challenging times. I thank you for that opportunity.

I wish you every success as you provide leadership and inspiration for America and for the world."

That's quick and almost comical. Kind of like Paul O'Neill himself. Before Harvey Pitt, O'Neill made a name for himself doing the sort of stuff that, while not overtly evil (see Gale Norton over at Interior), lacked any sort of clue. For someone who had business credentials, he sure didn't display them once in office.

posted at: 2002-12-06 10:06:56 with 0 comments

Here's the real reason United Airlines stock fell almost 60% today before trading was halted. The best part: the headline "Improper Use of Tape to Fix Wings May Lead to FAA Fine for United". Hmm. Count me in as one of the people who didn't know there was a "proper way to use tape to fix wings". And why are there so many holes in the wings anyway? What kind of industry would allow such shenanigans? Makes me proud to support railroads, by comparison.

posted at: 2002-12-05 15:17:47 with 0 comments
It's currently snowing...has been the entire morning, and the inches keep piling up. I'm drinking hot chocolate at work. It's a good moment.
posted at: 2002-12-05 13:03:32 with 0 comments

What I'm about to do may be considered heresy, but I don't care. Someone accused my party of "race-baiting" a couple weeks ago and I didn't have the juiciest response to them other than pure outrage. I'm going to excerpt the entire body of an republican press release that was put out to graze on the 13th of last month to illustrate a point. Here it is:

Black Republicans Make History in Maryland, Ohio, and Texas

Bradley, Steele first in statewide office; Jefferson, Wainwright first in TX Supreme Court

WASHINGTON - For the first time in history, Black Republicans will hold the Lieutenant Governor position in two states at the same time. Jennette Bradley will become the first African American female to serve as Ohio's Lieutenant Governor. In Maryland, Lieutenant Governor-elect Michael Steele will become the first African American to hold statewide office. Judges Wallace Jefferson and Dale Wainwright are the first African Americans elected to the Texas Supreme Court.

"These Americans are thoughtful and talented leaders, who represent the great diversity and strength of the Republican Party," said RNC Chairman Marc Racicot. "We are proud to count them among the growing number of Black Republican leaders, and look forward to working with them to advance the President's agenda for a secure and economically sound America."

Before elected, Bradley was serving her third term on the Columbus City Council, where she chaired three influential committees. In Maryland, Steele is Chairman of Governor-elect Bob Ehrlich's transition team, Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, and a member of the RNC Executive Committee.

"We are encouraged by the election of over a dozen African American candidates across the country. We hope that they will serve as a role models for other Black Americans to become more involved in the political process of our country, whether it is at the grassroots level or running for office in the future," said Pamela Mantis, RNC Deputy Press Secretary.

Other African American candidates elected to office under the Republican banner include:

  • Kenneth Blackwell, OH Secretary of State
  • Cynthia Calhoun, Dallas County Clerk
  • Linda Douglass, Guadalupe County (TX) Treasurer
  • George Hanks, Jr., TX District Judge 157
  • Bill Hardiman, MI State Senate, District 29
  • Lisa Hembry, Dallas County Treasurer
  • Dianne Jones, Dallas County Criminal Court 11
  • Ed Jones, CO State Senate, District 11
  • Sherman Parker, MO State Rep., District 12
  • Jane Powdrell-Culbert, NM State House, District 44
  • Michael Williams, TX Railroad Commission Chair
  • Jackie Winters, OR State Senate, District 10

For those of you counting at home, that was a grand old total of sixteen people. Nationwide. Eight of whom hail from Texas, meaning that excluding the president's home state, a total of 8 Republican African Americans were elected. Eight. That'a making history? If you want the nail in the coffin, check out this little post reminding us how the GOP went from the party of Lincoln to the party of idiocy.

posted at: 2002-12-05 12:59:31 with 0 comments
While we're on the subject of the current administration, everyone should head over to Esquire to read the entire letter written by John DiIulio. I'm no fan of DiIulio, although I think he has noble goals. (I'm not a big fan of decreasing the space between church and state, for instance.) The letter itself, though, reveals several points: the first being that although the quotes were inflammatory, they weren't taken out of context or meant to imply something he didn't mean. Clearly, DiIulio didn't think the administration was very policy-oriented. Yet he doesn't appear to hate Bush himself, or blame Rove specifically for every problem. He's more adept at identifying the symptoms of the problem, than either the cause or cure. He knows that it shouldn't be this way, and minces no words to say so. It's well worth the time.
posted at: 2002-12-04 16:02:48 with 0 comments
It has been brought to my attention that there is a coalition in Canada intent on leading a weapons inspection team into the United States. They have a website and a plan. If the prez refuses an international inspections team, they are going to bring volunteers themselves. Oh Canadians! How I love them! And you especially have to read the criteria they use to designate the USofA as a "rogue nation" requiring inspection. Pretty compelling stuff, eh?
posted at: 2002-12-04 14:48:51 with 0 comments
My office is currently under attack from a number of watergun wielding maniacs who are busy cleaning the sides of the building. It sounds as if they're performing a root canal on the entire suite, with loud buzzing noises preventing any sort of telephone conversations from taking place. Hence the blog. This is almost as annoying as when I went to my local bank branch to find that the doors were closed and locked. There were about ten of us waiting in sub-30 degree weather to get into the bank for over 15 minutes. Finally, they opened the door and let us in. No apology. No nothing.
posted at: 2002-12-03 14:58:17 with 0 comments

Having studied the news cycle for several years, there are several practices that steam me up. The false claim of objectivity, the increasing prioritization of soft over hard news, the mixing of the editorial with the business department and the tendency to groupthink, among others, often annoy me. For a daily look, check out Bob Somerby's website which debunks much of the groupthink. Or venture over to Spinsanity which attempts to parse through the empty rhetoric. Though part of the machine itself, Howard Kurtz is the canary in the coalmine: his column frequently reflects what the post punditry and journalists believe, even if their ideas are misguided. For a good time, read Kurtz first, then Somerby second, to see how the press feels and how actual facts back them up. Last Saturday, Kurtz took on Rush Limbaugh on Reliable source, the transcipr of which is right here. Although most of the discourse is fluff, there is one moment when Howard shows a little backbone:

LIMBAUGH: So you got conservative journalists at CNN opposed to strategists from the Clinton White House on the left. I'm glad they're there. They're helping the conservative cause with their stridency, mean spiritedness and extremism.

KURTZ: Clearly, there are instances in which the media are unfair, are biased, particularly on social issues, I think. A lot of journalists are to the left of the general population, but this notion that this whole big news business is kind of crawling with closet Democrats, I think is like a big fat straw man that you whack away at. Without that, your three-hour show would be an hour and a half.

LIMBAUGH: I don't know how you can -- I don't know how you can deny it...

KURTZ: I'm not denying it, I'm trying to define it. I'm trying to understand it.

LIMBAUGH: You don't know how I can see rampant liberal Democrat sympathy, if nothing else, in the mainstream press.

KURTZ: In every major news organization, down to the level of reporters and editors.

LIMBAUGH: Well, I mean, look, I've never been in a newsroom that I could tell you X employees this, that and the other thing. I've -- gees, I've been places on election night. I've seen the long faces when Republicans are winning in the war rooms.

Kurtz is, at his heart, a reporter. And reporters, as evidenced by both Clinton and Gore, may agree with certain policy issues in the same way that many Democrats do, but this rarely translates into an overt "let's be friendly to Dems" demeanor. Instead, professional journalists attempt to be "objective", which often means balancing factually correct Democrat claims against factually incorrect Republican claims and calling both matters of opinion, rather than empiricial evidence that could be quickly sorted into truth and falsehood. But the premise of the whole system rests with the public's ability to believe that news organizations are fair and unbiased.

While I dislike the pretense of objectivity, I feel that it has its place. Reporting on news in a "this is what happened, at this time, in this place" is extremely objective and most hard news conforms to this. It's the analysis afterwards that often leans towards idiocy, whether in the group-think that will decide who the press corps likes (McCain yes, Gore no) or in strident editorializing that undermines the entire notion of objectivity (O'Reilly on Fox News or the editorial page of the Washington Times). You can't run a hard news program and then follow it with mindless entertainment oriented programming and declare your entire network is "objective".

Yet each time that I dislike the press corps, I have merely to look at the administration to see an operation more dictated by public relations than actual newsworthiness. Yesterday, the President made a bold declaration. From the piece:

"In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years?" Bush said in a speech at the Pentagon, where he signed a $355.5 billion defense spending measure. "Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging."

Administration officials said their pessimism was not based on information from the weapons inspectors but on Iraq's belligerent communications with the United Nations and its continuing challenge of U.S. and British warplanes enforcing "no-fly" zones.

So our President is making bellicose statements about a volatile region based, not on intelligence from his own agencies, but on past history. Since the inspectors have gone into Iraq, no new revelations have surfaced. Hence, there should be no news. Yet by saying "the signs are not encouraging" Bush is telling the American people that he has some ability to see that things aren't working the way that they should. Since he has access to intelligence resources far beyond the ordinary American, most people would assume that the CIA or Defense Department had learned something important. Yet his officials immediately denied any basis in factual evidence to support their claims. It would be as if he were to repeat, ad nauseum, that the economy was looking better, and then have his staff mention that there were no economic indicators to support such a statement. (Hasn't he already done this?) Ironically, his entire statement could have been written a months ago, with no difference in facts. This is deception, pure and simple, and it's where the press corps run headlong into that wall of objectivity. By merely reporting the "news" they are advancing an administration spin point, yet to question the motives behind such an announcement, they might be perceived as biased. When someone comes up with a solution, feel free to call me.

posted at: 2002-12-03 10:15:47 with 0 comments
From the today's Washington Post, here's an article detailing the Pentagon and the latest effort to help create a national missile defense system, something that has already consumed over $120 billion since the eighties with little tangible results.

Sorting through the 194 proposals received since February, Gary Payton, director of the Advanced Concepts Office at the Missile Defense Agency, has instructed his staff to focus on technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness. "I tell my folks, for the initial round of peer review, if the ideas violate no more than two laws of physics, we'll keep them," Payton said. "The one on X-ray lasers violated several laws of both physics and economics."

Uh, yeah. A couple of terrorists hijacked planes, probably with weapons carried aboard, and ran them into buildings, killing over three thousand people. The total cost? Probably far less than the several hundred billion dollars we're spending to stop ballistic missiles from hitting us. There's an old adage in security circles that any system is only secure up to a certain dollar amount. The perfect system, therefore, would cost very little and yet take so much money to overcome that it wouldn't be worth the effort. On the other end, there are the systems that cost more than the items they're supposed to be protecting, like guarding a two thousand dollar necklace with a ten thousand dollar security system. Why am I reminded of the latter in this instance?

And while we're on the subject of idiotic Pentagon plans, how about the new logo for the Information Awareness Office? information awareness office logo If I was attempting to create a new government office dealing with information, I might want to stay away from the loaded illuminati references.

posted at: 2002-12-02 13:40:44 with 0 comments
Yes, I was on a unplanned sabbatical this Thanksgiving. I'm now thankful for a reliable connection to the internet, unlike the spotty satellite deal I had to mess with over the break. If it was simply a matter of latency, that'd be one thing, but the connection kept dropping off ever second, and it only worked well for a few minutes over the entire time. Plus, the satellite tv seemed to be fine, on both transponders, so the dish was working properly. Give me dsl a few hundred yards from the CO any day. All things considered, it was nice to not worry about anything for a few days. I'll digress later this evening, once my work is finished, about more than the vagaries of technology. That and maybe a movie or two.
posted at: 2002-12-01 20:19:52 with 0 comments

go back a week...

...go forward a week